Simon Mayo: BBC made a mistake in pairing me with Jo Whiley.

Simon Mayo, the BBC Radio 2 broadcaster, has spoken candidly about his decision to leave his Radio 2 show ‘Drivetime’ after an “uncomfortable” period that he now calls a “mistake”.

Simon Mayo, left the BBC show last year after being told that he must have a new female co-host (Jo Whiley) via his agent, in a bid to change the “very blokey” line-up that went on to backfire.

After being joined by Jo Whiley in a new-look line-up, the show was heavily criticized by formerly loyal fans until the BBC announced the pair would go their separate ways in October.

“It was not how I had imagined the end of my career at Radio 2 would work out!” Mayo argued

“I certainly had no intention of going anywhere. I had thought I would stay there until I was 94, then retire and drop dead. But it didn’t work out like that, so it was an uncomfortable period.”

Attempted improvement makes a mistake

‘I came across a German word last year, Verschlimmbesserung, which means an attempted improvement that makes things worse. If you work in education, the NHS or the BBC you’ll go, “Yeah, we’ve all come across that.’ He said

“They were trying to make things better. They thought it would be an improvement and make the network more contemporary. They made a mistake.” He said

“They wanted me to carry on doing the show with Jo. I was never quite sure what they were offering, but I just didn’t think their heart was in it.” He responded when he was asked whether the BBC had tried to convince him to stay on the Radio 2 show.

Simon Mayo has won a clutch of awards, including a Sony Radio Award in 2009 with Mark Kermode for the BBC Radio 5 live Film Review, the Sony Radio Speech Award in 2008, as well Broadcasting Press Guild’s Radio Broadcaster of the Year in 2008.

The presenter, who had hosted his own BBC radio show for 31 years is due to start presenting on new digital classical music station Scala Radio on its launch on 4 March, alongside Angellica Bell, Mark Kermode and DJ Goldie.

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